Thursday, March 12, 2009

Copper Creek* Plays Crest

My neighborhood folk/country compadres have us set to play the benefit for the new Crest Community center. For San Diego county, this is what most people consider out in the sticks. They consider me way out in the sticks. I have grown to like it maybe even more than I did when I first landed out here.

We have had very little time to get our set together, but tonight's practice sounded promising. This kind of music can be rather demanding because any mistake is definitely not easy to mask. Still, I find that even on slow melodic rides I play it different every single time. I can't help it, or don't want to. I'm always thinking I can find a better angle, or else some mood strikes. I keep it between the lines and it works out about 50% of the time.

By Saturday night, I'll probably have those tunes down well enough to put something in them. It is not the sort of thing that allows spontaneous combustion, my long time goal when playing on stage. One of these days maybe I will really feel like all of it comes together and I'm up to really breaking free. I've hit moments of it but I know that it never got quite there for long due to any number of things. It's a difficult feeling to explain. An out of body experience would be as close as I can offer. The energy seems to become a separate incarnation and it takes over the playing while I listen, and the intensity keeps rising.

That may sound silly but that is how it is. Good or skilled don't figure in as much as some sort of passion. It's a physical thing and all about the feeling. Chasing that is what has kept me from permanently hanging it up over the years. I tried many times. Finally, I at least quit throwing all the harps and equipment away in a fit of frustration. I've done that a time or two.

This gig takes only a microphone and the harmonicas. I'm playing with the mic on a stand, which I kind of like. That way I can float like a butterfly. Not a lot of bee stinging but maybe a second or two. I get to start one song with my slow to fast clickety clack train. It can hit a fairly rapid pace before I do that whistle thing. I'm more a blues jazz guy but there is more soul in country than you might think, and I am liking this experience. The real highlight is the great sound of the vocals of my bandmates, and their wonderfully kind happy dispositions.

So, if you are there at 7PM, pretend you like what we do and only throw fresh vegetables my way--no rotten tomatoes.

*For this affair we will call ourselves Copper Creek. I don't know why that is. I like the sound of it whether I know what it means or not.

Wonder if it's the Moon

Things seemed surreal in a good way today. I spent a lot of time crafting my teak bid to send via email. I've been warned that this guy is a tough customer, tends to negotiate and is a stickler for perfection. The course I try to take in such matters is to let the heresay keep me aware but to avoid letting myself enter with a predetermined bias.

The guy does business all over the world and much in lands where negotiating is expected on every level. He expressed dismay at my quote but did it politely. I held ground, answered his questions straight out and got the job. It isn't huge but it will pay the rent and replace my windshield, and generally aid in paying my way.

The good thing about these jobs is that the work is always done while the hotshots are away. No one over my shoulder. It is not easy work considering various achy joints and such, but I like a little bit of strenuous labor. This is not nearly as hard as many things I could be doing. Another thing I like is that one of these connections could one day realize I may have an idea or two under my hat that could be worth developing. If or when the time is right maybe such a deal could come about. I certainly don't count on it, but I think the possibility is there.

In any case, I have temporarily fallen into a dropout's dream world. It suits me better than the phone company, and structure-wise, better than the airline. I do like the continual crisis and problem solving of airline work but not the TSA, the management model or the bureaucracy.

The fun thing was being secure in the bid and backing it up without giving in or compromising. When you under bid, even on little trivial work, you deny yourself the room to produce good enough quality. At least if you need the money. Also, most people want to like something for which they paid a fair price. Too cheap and they won't value the work or the worker.

It is an ironic law of nature: the lower the pay, the less respect and rougher treatment the payee receives. You get paid a lot and people do not expect you to put up with much. It's odd how they act as if the lowest paid guy is someone they own, yet the highest paid guy is someone they better treat well. You'd think the guy getting minimal wage would be seen as not being paid enough to include whipping boy duty. Think again.

That law works up and down the scale. Applying it can be tricky, but never expect them to appreciate your kind and good nature, or your desperate need.

It has been awhile since I've conducted any sort of business negotiation. There were times, especially in dealing with companies, that I thoroughly enjoyed the process of winning a non corrupt bid. On a good day I had to apply strategy and figure how to get the edge over competition by thinking of some clever design for a solution that would set me apart. I was never one too interested in wining and dining. There were times I actually advised a client what kind of perks and party to expect from competition, and how to get it. But I got the job. It was mean to aid them in taking the other guy for a ride.

The trouble with government business is that they have less motive to get the best because they aren't really a business as much as a crime syndicate. In that case the guy who sells parties and perks can do well without being the best.

OK. That was a pretty good stretch from teak work and energetic high schooler could handle to convincing some corporation to spend tins of money, to why government involved in things more than bare minimum sucks.

For Fijufic

Since Bobby expressed surprise. That's me on harp at the King Biscuit Festival a few years ago, I like another song or two we did better but those vids seemed to focus on the port-o-lets and such a little more. We put the camera lady to sleep.

Walking on Water

So, I was over at another mega residence, just a block or two away from the usual place. That would be the the place where I am involved in the big teak project. Since word got out, I was asked to give a quote on the stuff in dire need at this place. All these places seem to have a big swimming pool in the middle of things outside, or inside; kind of a courtyard design that is prevalent.

OK. They went inside to get some contact info written down. I was gazing off into the distance in case I could see the other place where I work. Just gazing and daydreaming and moving backwards without thinking, to get a better view, I assume. Next thing I know I find the earth felt like loose jelly, sort of sloshy.

Thanks to the powers that be, these people have a very heavy cover on that pool. I was full on it-both feet. Before I could think, I jumped out onto the hard surface portion of the courtyard. As near as I can tell no one witnessed this event. If they did, I doubt they'll want me doing work there while they are away. Or there, unless they have a great sense of humor. So far, if any humor does exist there, it is well hidden.

That brings me to another thought; is it possible that those with seemingly unlimited power, or seemingly unlimited wealth, have little or no need of humor? My experience has been that people who have enough to meet their needs and help friends and family are in pretty good cheer. Those who are beyond the average millionaire seem to lose it. People of power, as in political power, often have no humor or refuse to show it to the "little people" they claim to love. Just ask people who have been subjected to the Kennedys.

I don't see a lot of wit and humor in Obama or his crew. Maybe some lesser congress members like to laugh. That's no good. I was really hoping they'd all have a big haha press conference saying, "Hahaha, jokes on you. We were only kidding. Like we really would think you are such big suckers. hahahaha".

Say what they want, I walked on water. Got to figure, if they actually hire me for the project, in this economy, it's about the same thing; a miracle if news reports are right.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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